ConVal’s Veverka makes her mark at state track meet

  • Evan Coyne, of Con-Val, runs the 1000 meter race at the NHIAA Indoor Track and Field Championship at Leverone Field House in Hanover, N.H. Sunday, February 5, 2017. Coyne finished with a time of 2 minutes 52.17 seconds. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Clare Veverka, of Con-Val, runs the 1500 meter race at the NHIAA Indoor Track and Field Championship at Leverone Field House in Hanover, N.H. Sunday, February 5, 2017. Veverka placed fifth with a time of 5 minutes 3.57 seconds. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Evan Coyne, of Con-Val, runs the 1000 meter race at the NHIAA Indoor Track and Field Championship at Leverone Field House in Hanover, N.H. Sunday, February 5, 2017. Coyne finished with a time of 2 minutes 52.17 seconds. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Rhiannon Bell, of ConVal throws the shot. Bell took ninth place with a distance of 28 feet, 5.5 inches. PHOTO BY JAMES M. PATTERSON / VALLEY NEWS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/6/2017 7:44:38 PM

Clare Veverka’s perfect season might have ended Sunday but her runner-up finish at the Division II championship 3,000-meter race capped a year in which she far-exceeded expectations and set herself aside as an athlete to watch in the coming seasons.

Veverka, a sophomore, placed 2nd in the 3,000-meter race and 5th in the 1,500-meter race, accounting for all of ConVal’s scoring.

“We discussed in advance a few ways the race might play out and what to do in each situation, she ran a tough race and executed her plan perfectly,” coach Lance Flamino said. She was in the lead pack for the duration of the race, and tried to make a pass for the lead with about 250 meters to go, but could not get around Souhegan senior Madeleine Hunt. In the end, Hunt, the division’s champion in cross country, won in 10:17.68, with Veverka 2nd in 10:19.73. It was her best time at that distance all season. She came back a few hours later for the 1,500-meter race, a trying double to be sure, and managed to finish 5th with a time of 5:03.57. The winner was Rebecca Durham, a junior from Milford.

While that accounts for all 10 of ConVal’s points, the team had several other competitors with good showings at the meet.

Veverka was joined by Lucy Freeman, Haley Doherty and Rachel Hurley for the 4x400-meter relay, placing 4th in their heat at 4:35.17, good for 12th overall. The 4x800-meter was Freeman, Doherty, Hurley and Sarah Newell. They were 8th in 10:40.45.

The only member of that team with any indoor track experience — and only member of the whole squad to compete at this meet a year ago — is Freeman. The senior was 11th in the 600-meter race in 1:58.98. Rhiannon Bell, a junior, represented the Cougars on the field with her 9th-place shot put throw of 28-feet, 5.5 inches.

The ConVal girls’ 10 points is the most they have had since Emma Bolduc scored 12 on her own in 2010.

The boys were shut out of the scoring. Evan Coyne was the lone competitor but had his best performance of the season.

Ranked 27th in the division after the regular season and seeded last going into Sunday’s championship, Coyne ran a personal record of 2:52.17 in the 1,000-meter run, coming in 7th with a surge on the final lap, and just missing getting his team on the board. He is a sophomore.

Conant was also shut out of the scoring on the boys’ and girls’ sides in the meet. The NHIAA league combines Division II and Division III for indoor track, making team success more difficult for small school teams like Conant and Mascenic, who are likely to have more success in outdoor track in the spring.

Tyler Sands, senior, and Jordan Banish, junior, competed on behalf of the Orioles.

Sands ran in the 55-meter and 300-meter dashes, foregoing any field events despite his strength in the high jump. He was 7th in his heat and 12th overall in the preliminary round of the 55-meter, where only the top eight overall advance to the final. His time was 6.99 seconds. In the 300-meter run, he placed 11th in 39.60 seconds. Banish competed in the 55-meter hurdles. She ran a time of 10.03 seconds, good for 6th in her heat and 11th overall, also missing the cutoff for the final.

“It was a great effort and we’re looking forward to spring,” coach Erin Kelly said.

Banish was second in her event amongst Division III athletes, behind only Claire Russell of Monadnock Regional High School. Only two of the finalists in the 100-meter hurdles from last spring’s outdoor championship are returning.

Sands is the top outdoor Division III returner in two events, and was the best Division III runner Sunday in the 55-meter dash. He was 2nd among such runners in the 300-meter run, topped by Bow’s Brian Bushnell who was 5th overall.

Mascenic was represented by distance runner Jake Movsessian, a senior, who was also the best Division III runner in his event Sunday. He placed 3rd in an historic 3,000-meter run that saw Patrick O’Brien from Oyster River break the meet and state records in that event.

Movsessian ran 9:23.74, his best time of the season. O’Brien led from the very beginning and ran a fairly evenly split race, but Movsessian led the chase pack for much of the first seven laps. At that point, Pelham’s Cameron Starr broke off for second and Movsessian ran firmly in third for the second half of the race.

The Division II championship meet record was previously held by ConVal’s Alex McGrath, who ran 8:46.73 in 2008 to break his own record from also setting it in 2007. That was when it was still called Class IMS (for intermediate, medium and small schools) before the switch to divisions. The prior state record was by Bishop Guertin’s Francis Hernandez, who won the Class L (large schools) meet with a 8:42.52 in 2009. O’Brien ran 8:39.52 to break both.

Movsessian not only defeated all competitors from Division III schools on Sunday — Dawson Adams from Monadnock was second — but is the best returning 3,200-meter runner in outdoor track.

The meet was won by the Souhegan girls, dominant with 84 points, and Trinity boys, whose 66 points edged out Windham.

The NHIAA indoor track season is complete, beginning the countdown to the Divisions II and III outdoor championships on May 27.


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